TMC & SGS Produce World-First Nickel Sulfate from Deep-Seafloor Polymetallic Nodules

Published
  • As part of TMC’s pilot-scale nodule processing, SGS and TMC produced the world's first nickel sulfate from deep-seafloor polymetallic nodules, indicating TMC’s resource is suitable for battery markets
  • The nickel sulfate was produced in a testing program conducted in collaboration with SGS and other industry leaders applying TMC’s efficient flowsheet design that processes high-grade nickel matte direct to nickel sulfate (without making nickel metal) and produces fertilizer products instead of solid waste or tailings
  • TMC holds exploration rights to the world's two largest-ranked undeveloped nickel deposits, which could offer a less impactful alternative to market dominant rainforest-sourced nickel laterites, potentially alleviating stress on ecosystems and local communities

NEW YORK, April 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or the “Company”), an explorer of the world’s largest estimated undeveloped source of critical battery metals, today announced that it has successfully produced the world’s first nickel sulfate derived exclusively from seafloor polymetallic nodules. The sulfate was generated during bench-scale testing of its hydrometallurgical flowsheet design in partnership with SGS Canada Inc., at their Lakefield, Ontario facility.

Undertaken on samples of nickel-cobalt-copper matte produced by TMC in 2021, the Extractive Metallurgy team at SGS tested TMC’s efficient flowsheet to process high-grade nickel matte directly to nickel sulfate without making nickel metal, while producing fertilizer byproducts instead of solid waste or tailings. Following the successful nickel sulfate production, SGS continues testing to produce what TMC believes will be the world’s first cobalt sulfate from polymetallic nodules.

Dr. Jeffrey Donald, TMC Head of Onshore Development, said: “The production of the world’s first nickel sulfate from deep-seafloor nodules is an important milestone, confirming that our custom flowsheet configuration can be deployed to process these remarkable rocks into final products suitable for use in batteries. This work was executed in close collaboration with SGS and other industry leaders to demonstrate the ability to refine nodules to high value products. The data collected will inform further engineering decisions to move this towards commercial scale, and TMC continues to expect that initial production will begin with a capital-light approach by leveraging the existing processing facilities of strategic partners, such as PAMCO. With the commencement of this new industry now being seen as imminent by countries and companies alike, this represents not just a major achievement for TMC but for the entire deep-seafloor minerals industry.”

SGS North America Senior Director, Metallurgy & Consulting, Stephen Mackie, said: “As a trusted partner, SGS is proud to be working with The Metals Company to execute a key part of their initiative. The test work completed to-date for TMC has proven to be quite successful and we are excited on continuing our relationship with them on future phases of work.”

TMC’s NORI and TOML projects are ranked as the world’s #1 and #2 largest undeveloped nickel projects according to Mining.com, containing in situ quantities of nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese sufficient to meet the needs of 280 million electric vehicles – roughly the size of the entire U.S. light vehicle fleet. With analysts warning that the quantities of critical battery metals like nickel and cobalt available from domestic or allied partners will be insufficient to meet U.S. demand from the energy transition, there is increased interest in and prioritization of marine minerals to support energy and national security.

In March, members of the House of Representatives introduced draft legislation calling for the U.S. to “provide financial, diplomatic, or other forms of support for seafloor nodule collection, processing and refining.” In November 2023, TMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pacific Metals Corporation (PAMCO) to complete a feasibility study to process 1.3 million tonnes of wet polymetallic nodules (PMN) per year into high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt alloy / matte and manganese silicate, which are feedstock for the production of lithium-ion batteries, electrical infrastructure and steel.

About The Metals CompanyThe Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the global energy transition with the least possible negative impacts on planet and people and (2) trace, recover and recycle the metals we supply to help create a metals commons that can be used in perpetuity. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga. More information is available at www.metals.co.

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Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, statements that waste streams could be reduced by using deep-sea nodules. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Most of these factors are outside TMC’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: any future results of processing of the polymetallic nodules, including but not limited to the successful production of nickel and/or cobalt sulfate or the ability to commercially produce such products ; regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on TMC’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which TMC is subject; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on TMC’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the CCZ and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; TMC’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that TMC may recover; risks associated with collection, development and processing operations; fluctuations in transportation costs; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with TMC’s intellectual property; and other risks and uncertainties, including those in the “Risk Factors” sections, included in the final prospectus and definitive proxy statement, dated and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on August 12, 2021 relating to the business combination, in TMC’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023, filed by TMC with the SEC on March 25, 2024, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC, including TMC’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. TMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. TMC does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/77762066-d649-46e5-8ef5-12fcd0c04b55

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